From April of this year companies with over 150 employees will have to abide by new rules which give their workers the right to be consulted and informed about important matters that affect them in the workplace. The legislation obliges companies to set up consultation arrangements with their employees if more than 10 per cent of the workforce ask them to do so.
The rules are designed to help workers cope better with uncertainty and change in the workplace, and the responsibility for requesting consultation lies with the employees and not the company. Businesses failing to follow the new ‘Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004’ can be fined up to £75,000, and the rules come into effect for smaller businesses in 2007 and 2008 for those with over 100 or 50 employees respectively. Guidance on the legislation can be downloaded from the DTI website at www.dti.gov.uk/er/consultation/proposal.htm